Last weekend Wut Berlin, Omotesando was completely taken over by Tata Christiane’s modern take on the magical realism, ably assisted by her very own band – Aniaetleprogrammeur (Ania et le Programmeur), the stage was set for her to communicate a unique collection that felt like it was made for Tokyo. Her concept was to make every last item in the collection completely unique in its own right, a fairly unremarkable feat if she were only aiming for a single rack of clothes, but we are talking close to 200 items, all making use of distinct fabrics, motifs and patterns. That is not to say there is not a core aesthetic that unites the work, and in the drooping, androgynous shapes and common palette there were hints of homogeneity, a remarkable feat considering how diverse the fabrics are. Perhaps it is the fabrics that led the work, talking to Julie Bourgeois, one half of the design team behind Tata Christiane, she told me of how she had scoured vintage fabric shops, finally happening upon a lady in her 80s ready to sell the entirety of her haberdashery packed to the gills with perfect condition, but pleasantly dated textiles. From there the limitations of working with odd shapes and remnants of fabrics had its own effect on the design process, ultimately leading to an improvised mood, but processed with with a perfectionist approach in the construction. It is that which gives the work something of the surreal, and pays homage to the magical realism inspirations of this particular collection – I just can’t wait to see what they turn their attention to next.
This Wut Berlin takeover was made possible by the buyer and creative director of the boutique – Yann, who happened to spot Tata Christiane lurking at a sample sale in Berlin. It is is easy to see why her work would catch the very same eye who spotted Balmung and Bodysong, and it culminated in bringing her to Tokyo and giving her a chance to make her mark on a city that feels like it should be her natural home. Julie told me that before Yann spotted her she was worried that she would have to tone down her work in order to make Tata Christiane commercially viable, but mercifully she has not had to make that particular creative sacrifice.
Step inside Wut Berlin and enjoy:
The clash of textiles, some familiar, some avant-garde, combined with geometric and draped patterns all makes for one hell of a mix, but like I said before, there is a common narrative strand that ties it all together and makes it work. It is interesting to note that Julie does not have any traditional fashion training, instead just learning as she goes, a common theme amongst the underground designers of Tokyo that are rising to prominence right now.
I was just blown away by the racks on racks of shapes and textiles, some serious, some that raised a smile.
The common arm and neck holes provided some standardization across the line,
but by and large every piece felt like an experiment in its own right.
For more on Tata Christiane there is an official website here, and if you are in Tokyo her band will be playing at the Shinjuku Loft tomorrow (details here) and this weekend Tokyo Decay is having an epic night with her band and a whole host of Tokyo’s darker DJs (details here).